Using the analytical lens of Critical Race Theory and Disability Studies (DisCrit), we examined the intersection of race and dis/ability to investigate numerical racial disproportionality and disparate discipline practices in Minnesota K-12 elementary and secondary schools. The purpose of this study was threefold: To examine how designating students of color and American Indian students in K-12 schools with emotional or behavioral disorders (EBD) or emotional disorder labels affects educational outcomes and life opportunities; to investigate the extent to which racial disproportionality exists across all special education categories, with an emphasis on EBD designation in Minnesota; and to investigate and propose policy recommendations believed effective in remedying overrepresentation of students of color in special education programs in the state of Minnesota. Review of literature in the fields of Critical Race Theory, Disability Studies, General and Special Education, and Social Justice in Education, along with government documents and two personal interviews found significant numerical racial disparities and discipline disparities in Minnesota schools for students receiving education services for EBD. Investigation generated six (6) policy recommendations for consideration: Support a Task Force to Uphold Obama-era Guidelines and to Hold Schools Accountable; Strengthen System-Wide Coordination for Preventive Care; Require Implicit Bias Training; Expand Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support (PBIS) Training; Strengthen Collaboration Between the Minnesota Department of Education and the Minnesota Department of Human Rights; Review Statewide Assessment Criteria for Identification of students for Emotional Behavior Disorders (EBD).
Keywords: Critical Race Theory, DisCrit, disproportionality, emotional behavioral disorder (EBD), emotional disorders, Minnesota, special education, students of color
Capstone paper for the fulfillment of the Master of Public Policy degree.
Mejia, Ileana; Gaither, Renoir.
Moving Beyond Disproportionality Students of Color and American Indian Students in Minnesota Who Are Identified with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders.
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